top of page
Home: About
Home: Welcome

WELCOME TO 
BLACK LOWELL COALITION

"A place for all of us of Black African Descent at home and in the Diaspora "

MASSACHUSETTS EMANCIPATION DAY aka QUOCK WALKER DAY

Under a law signed in 2022, Monday is a state holiday marking a 1783 decision in Walker's case by Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice William Cushing, who declared that slavery had been abolished by the Massachusetts Constitution. The holiday is known as Massachusetts Emancipation Day or Quock Walker Day.

Click image

Quock Walker

 Visit these places in July 2024

Bucky Lew Biography Book Cover.jpg

Bucky Lew

Basketball's First Black Professional

By Chris Boucher

Harry “Bucky” Lew deserves to be more than a footnote. While he is recognized as basketball’s first Black professional player, he achieved much more than that.

 

In a career that spanned roughly 25 years, he was the first Black pro player, coach, manager, head referee, and even owner, all in otherwise white leagues.

 

And it started here in Lowell.

 

As opposed to today, Lew was well known back in the day. He got his start at the Lowell YMCA in 1898 where he captained several Merrimack Valley championship teams. The Y even defeated MIT in a stunning upset, and the budding rocket scientists told the papers his was the best amateur team in the state.

 

Next Lew jumped to the pros, signing with the Pawtucketville Athletic Club of the New England Basketball League in 1902. A crowd favorite, his games drew 2,000 fans to Huntington Hall downtown.

With a flair for the dramatic, he became known for a unique style of play, stunning half-court shots, an impossible-to-steal handle, and an unusual passing style where, when he had no other options, he directed the ball to an open spot on the court and beat everyone else to it.

 

The papers sang his praises, with the Sun and Courier Citizen reporting things like: “Lew is an attraction in every city and town where he plays,” “Lew is a gentle little man to look at, but when the whistle blows, he becomes a whirlwind,” and “for all-around playing, Lew is the best in the league.”

Of course, Bucky had his share of troubles. A Hudson newspaper called him his team’s “colored valet.” A New Bedford crowd tried to shout him off the floor. He was denied lodging at an inn in New Hampshire and shelter at a nearby train station. The game’s best player, Harry Hough, refused to play against him in Haverhill.

 

Besides these indignities, there were injuries too. He had to leave one game after being kicked in the stomach and another after sustaining a gash that required stitches. He dislocated both shoulders multiple times. One of his granddaughter Wendy’s persistent memories is seeing him sitting in his favorite chair wearing a tank top and rubbing his exposed shoulders.

 

Lew literally risked his life integrating basketball. A Sun reporter quoted a colleague who described the game this way: “Basketball, in short, combines all the exciting elements of boxing, wrestling…football, murder, and a house on fire.”

 

In those days, fistfights were often treated as simple fouls. That might not sound so bad considering the fighting skills of today’s players, but some of the players in Lew’s day were also professional boxers. With trained pugilists behind them, it’s understandable that many punches resulted in serious damage.

 

The Courier Citizen reported on one game between Lowell’s two pro clubs with the headline: “Two Teeth Gone from Tighe’s Set—Devlin’s Blow Loosens Ivories.” After he lost possession of the ball in a scrum, “Devlin seemed to lose his head for a moment; his fist shot out and met Tighe’s mouth, knocking a bit off two of the PAC man’s teeth. Tighe was sent into dreamland.”

 

Lost teeth and consciousness were bad enough, but the outcome could be even worse. Pro boxing was more popular than basketball in those days, and the year before Lew joined the PAC, one of the its players was killed in a match.

 

John Dion was killed at a fight in Lowell in August of 1901. According to the Sun, in its story on the “Fatal Boxing Bout,” Dion was knocked out in the ninth round of what was supposed to be a 20-round fight. After a right-left-right combination, the final blow landed “on the point of the jaw and Dion went down like a log.” Doctors at ringside were unable to revive him and he was taken to St. John’s hospital, where he died a few hours later.

 

But if you knew anything about Bucky, you know he wasn’t about to give up. Instead, he gave it right back. All while being careful to play within the rules. He somehow maintained a reputation as a gentlemen and never threw a punch. As one reporter said, “Lew is known throughout New England amongst basketball fans as an exceptionally clean as well as a skillful player.”

 

Speaking to Gerry Finn of the Springfield Union in 1958, Lew said: “All those things you read about Jackie Robinson, the abuse, the name-calling, extra effort to put him down… they’re all true. I got the same treatment and even worse…. I took the bumps, the elbows in the gut, knees here and everything else that went with it. But I gave it right back. It was rough but worth it. Once they knew I could take it, I had it made.”

 

While he experienced racial strife, he experienced allyship too. The press, fans, and teammates supported him. When Harry Hough refused to play him, Lew’s teammates threw the ball at his head to encourage him to move, and the league followed up by fining Hough and threatening to expel him should he try it again.

 

When the NEBL folded, Lew formed his own team, the Lowell Five, and barnstormed via train or borrowed Packard throughout Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. Drawing on Lowell’s various ethnic groups to fill his roster, players of Irish, French-Canadian, German, Greek, and Jewish descent appeared with the Five.

 

He even ran his own team when the NEBL’s founders asked him to head up Lowell’s franchise in a renewed league in 1915. To round out his resume, he coached Textile in 1922 and was the Lowell Pro League’s director of officiating in 1923. After earning the respect of his peers as both a player and an executive for a quarter century, he finally retired in 1926.

 

And Lew’s legacy extends beyond all that. While his beloved status is largely forgotten today, the Dodgers were likely reminded of it when they were looking their first three Black players in their minor league system in 1946.

 

Remember, Lew started his pro career with a team in Pawtucketville, which was also known as High Canada because of its large French-Canadian presence. PAC teams featured players with surnames like Allard, Dionne, Raicot, and Rousseau.

 

After Branch Rickey received a round of rejections from affiliates around the country, he finally got the answer he was looking for when he called Nashua Telegraph editor Fred Dobens. Dobens assured him the Franco-Americans in the city would welcome the players with open arms. Why was he so sure? Dobens, born in 1905, was a high school basketball star and undoubtedly grew up reading about how well Lew was received.

 

Rickey placed Don Newcombe and Roy Campanella in Nashua and Jackie Robinson in Montreal to start. After a successful stint in the minors, all eventually moved up to play with the Brooklyn Dodgers and the rest is history.

 

Regardless of all that, one Franco-American connection is clear. If my grandfather Armias hadn’t left Quebec for Lowell in the 1920s, and settled in Pawtucketville as a neighbor to the Lews, I may never have heard of the man or developed the interest in his accomplishments that inspired me to write his only book-length biography.

 

“The Original Bucky Lew: Basketball’s First Black Professional” is available at local bookstores and Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1613098960

Quock Walker Day Pics

Scroll through the pics provided by various attendees
Video provided & edited through the courtesy of
Mr. Stephen Malagodi

Brought by the courtesy of Mr. Stephen Malagodi

Juneteenth FLAG Raising Pics

IMG_5263

IMG_5263

IMG_5260

IMG_5260

IMG_5261

IMG_5261

IMG_5259

IMG_5259

IMG_5258

IMG_5258

IMG_5257

IMG_5257

IMG_5256

IMG_5256

IMG_5255

IMG_5255

IMG_5254

IMG_5254

IMG_5253

IMG_5253

IMG_5252

IMG_5252

IMG_5251

IMG_5251

IMG_5250

IMG_5250

IMG_5249

IMG_5249

IMG_5248

IMG_5248

IMG_5247

IMG_5247

IMG_5246

IMG_5246

IMG_5245

IMG_5245

IMG_5244

IMG_5244

IMG_5243

IMG_5243

IMG_5242

IMG_5242

IMG_5241

IMG_5241

IMG_5240

IMG_5240

IMG_5239

IMG_5239

IMG_5238

IMG_5238

IMG_5236

IMG_5236

IMG_5237

IMG_5237

IMG_5235

IMG_5235

IMG_5233

IMG_5233

IMG_5234

IMG_5234

IMG_5232

IMG_5232

IMG_5231

IMG_5231

IMG_5230

IMG_5230

IMG_5229

IMG_5229

IMG_5228

IMG_5228

IMG_5227

IMG_5227

IMG_5226

IMG_5226

IMG_5225

IMG_5225

IMG_5224

IMG_5224

IMG_5223

IMG_5223

IMG_5222

IMG_5222

IMG_5408

IMG_5408

IMG_5407

IMG_5407

IMG_5405

IMG_5405

IMG_5404

IMG_5404

IMG_5406

IMG_5406

IMG_5401

IMG_5401

IMG_5400

IMG_5400

IMG_5403

IMG_5403

IMG_5399

IMG_5399

IMG_5398

IMG_5398

IMG_5397

IMG_5397

IMG_5395

IMG_5395

IMG_5396

IMG_5396

IMG_5321

IMG_5321

IMG_5320

IMG_5320

IMG_5319

IMG_5319

IMG_5318

IMG_5318

IMG_5317

IMG_5317

IMG_5316

IMG_5316

IMG_5315

IMG_5315

IMG_5314

IMG_5314

IMG_5313

IMG_5313

IMG_5312

IMG_5312

IMG_5311

IMG_5311

IMG_5310

IMG_5310

IMG_5309

IMG_5309

IMG_5308

IMG_5308

IMG_5307

IMG_5307

IMG_5306

IMG_5306

IMG_5305

IMG_5305

IMG_5304

IMG_5304

IMG_5302

IMG_5302

IMG_5301

IMG_5301

IMG_5300

IMG_5300

IMG_5299

IMG_5299

IMG_5298

IMG_5298

IMG_5297

IMG_5297

IMG_5296

IMG_5296

IMG_5295

IMG_5295

IMG_5294

IMG_5294

IMG_5293

IMG_5293

IMG_5292

IMG_5292

IMG_5291

IMG_5291

IMG_5290

IMG_5290

IMG_5289

IMG_5289

IMG_5287

IMG_5287

IMG_5286

IMG_5286

IMG_5285

IMG_5285

IMG_5282

IMG_5282

IMG_5281

IMG_5281

IMG_5280

IMG_5280

IMG_5279

IMG_5279

IMG_5278

IMG_5278

IMG_5277

IMG_5277

IMG_5276

IMG_5276

IMG_5275

IMG_5275

IMG_5273

IMG_5273

IMG_5274

IMG_5274

IMG_5270

IMG_5270

IMG_5272

IMG_5272

IMG_5266

IMG_5266

IMG_5268

IMG_5268

IMG_5267

IMG_5267

IMG_5269

IMG_5269

IMG_5264

IMG_5264

IMG_5262

IMG_5262

IMG_5265

IMG_5265

Juneteenth Jubilee Pics

IMG_2992

IMG_2992

Junteenth Muldoon Park Lowell, MA

Junteenth Muldoon Park Lowell, MA

IMG_5557

IMG_5557

IMG_5555

IMG_5555

IMG_5556

IMG_5556

IMG_5554

IMG_5554

IMG_5552

IMG_5552

IMG_5553

IMG_5553

IMG_5550

IMG_5550

IMG_5551

IMG_5551

IMG_5548

IMG_5548

IMG_5549

IMG_5549

IMG_5546

IMG_5546

IMG_5547

IMG_5547

IMG_5545

IMG_5545

IMG_5544

IMG_5544

IMG_5543

IMG_5543

IMG_5542

IMG_5542

IMG_5540

IMG_5540

IMG_5541

IMG_5541

IMG_5539

IMG_5539

IMG_5538

IMG_5538

IMG_5537

IMG_5537

IMG_5536

IMG_5536

IMG_5534

IMG_5534

IMG_5535

IMG_5535

IMG_5533

IMG_5533

IMG_5532

IMG_5532

IMG_5531

IMG_5531

IMG_5530

IMG_5530

IMG_5527

IMG_5527

IMG_5528

IMG_5528

IMG_5529

IMG_5529

IMG_5526

IMG_5526

IMG_5525

IMG_5525

IMG_5523

IMG_5523

IMG_5522

IMG_5522

IMG_5521

IMG_5521

IMG_5520

IMG_5520

IMG_5518

IMG_5518

IMG_5519

IMG_5519

IMG_5517

IMG_5517

IMG_5516

IMG_5516

IMG_5514

IMG_5514

IMG_5515

IMG_5515

IMG_5513

IMG_5513

IMG_5512

IMG_5512

IMG_5511

IMG_5511

IMG_5509

IMG_5509

IMG_5506

IMG_5506

IMG_5508

IMG_5508

IMG_5505

IMG_5505

IMG_5507

IMG_5507

IMG_5504

IMG_5504

IMG_5503

IMG_5503

IMG_5501

IMG_5501

IMG_5502

IMG_5502

IMG_5500

IMG_5500

IMG_5497

IMG_5497

IMG_5499

IMG_5499

IMG_5498

IMG_5498

IMG_5496

IMG_5496

IMG_5495

IMG_5495

IMG_5494

IMG_5494

IMG_5493

IMG_5493

IMG_5490

IMG_5490

IMG_5492

IMG_5492

IMG_5489

IMG_5489

IMG_5491

IMG_5491

IMG_5487

IMG_5487

IMG_5484

IMG_5484

IMG_5486

IMG_5486

IMG_5485

IMG_5485

IMG_5483

IMG_5483

IMG_5482

IMG_5482

IMG_5479

IMG_5479

IMG_5481

IMG_5481

IMG_5480

IMG_5480

IMG_5478

IMG_5478

IMG_5475

IMG_5475

IMG_5476

IMG_5476

IMG_5477

IMG_5477

IMG_5474

IMG_5474

IMG_5471

IMG_5471

IMG_5472

IMG_5472

IMG_5473

IMG_5473

IMG_5470

IMG_5470

IMG_5469

IMG_5469

IMG_5468

IMG_5468

IMG_5466

IMG_5466

IMG_5467

IMG_5467

IMG_5465

IMG_5465

IMG_5463

IMG_5463

IMG_5464

IMG_5464

IMG_5461

IMG_5461

IMG_5462

IMG_5462

IMG_5460

IMG_5460

IMG_5458

IMG_5458

IMG_5457

IMG_5457

IMG_5459

IMG_5459

IMG_5456

IMG_5456

IMG_5454

IMG_5454

IMG_5453

IMG_5453

IMG_5455

IMG_5455

IMG_5452

IMG_5452

IMG_5451

IMG_5451

IMG_5449

IMG_5449

IMG_5450

IMG_5450

IMG_5448

IMG_5448

IMG_5447

IMG_5447

IMG_5445

IMG_5445

IMG_5446

IMG_5446

IMG_5442

IMG_5442

IMG_5444

IMG_5444

IMG_5443

IMG_5443

IMG_5441

IMG_5441

IMG_5440

IMG_5440

IMG_5439

IMG_5439

IMG_5437

IMG_5437

IMG_5438

IMG_5438

IMG_5436

IMG_5436

IMG_5435

IMG_5435

IMG_5434

IMG_5434

IMG_5433

IMG_5433

IMG_5432

IMG_5432

IMG_5431

IMG_5431

IMG_5430

IMG_5430

IMG_5428

IMG_5428

IMG_5429

IMG_5429

IMG_5427

IMG_5427

IMG_5426

IMG_5426

IMG_5425

IMG_5425

IMG_5424

IMG_5424

IMG_5423

IMG_5423

IMG_5421

IMG_5421

IMG_5422

IMG_5422

IMG_5420

IMG_5420

IMG_5419

IMG_5419

IMG_5417

IMG_5417

IMG_5418

IMG_5418

IMG_5416

IMG_5416

20230618_143647

20230618_143647

20230618_143643

20230618_143643

20230618_141755

20230618_141755

20230618_141726

20230618_141726

20230618_141729

20230618_141729

20230618_132810

20230618_132810

20230618_132806

20230618_132806

IMG_5571

IMG_5571

IMG_5570

IMG_5570

IMG_5567

IMG_5567

IMG_5569

IMG_5569

IMG_5566

IMG_5566

IMG_5568

IMG_5568

IMG_5565

IMG_5565

IMG_5563

IMG_5563

IMG_5564

IMG_5564

IMG_5558

IMG_5558

IMG_5560

IMG_5560

IMG_5559

IMG_5559

IMG_5561

IMG_5561

Home: About

Click on Pic

Community-events-icon-300x209.jpg

Click on Pic

Support Black Business.jpg

Click on Pic

support-black-organizations.jpg
bottom of page